One of the great joys of working for National Geographic Travel is getting the opportunity to eat your way through an assignment. Food is a central part to any culture or community so it inevitably ends up in a story.
Quebec City is no exception. There are many different things that define its food scene: café au lait with flakey croissants, ice wine, maple syrup candy, and cheese. For example, raclette—melted cheese served with potatoes, vegetables, and meat—is found in many local restaurants. The warm dish was traditionally eaten by peasants in the mountains of Switzerland and France, and now is served in Quebec. The modern raclette, pictured here, refers to the tabletop grill where one cooks the food. The dish itself involves a big plate of meats, cheese, and a couple of eggs alongside potatoes, cornichons, and other vegetables for people to sit around and cook together.
Le Petit Coin Latin in Vieux-Quebec is a small restaurant located along Rue Saint Jean. It’s run by a delightful family who was enthusiastic about demonstrating the way raclette is traditionally served. The two daughters were working on their homework and their mom had just returned from running errands so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect to capture the intimate family moment around the table.
I like to use available light so we set up at a table next the window. The food appears sharp in this photo because of the short depth of field, and the people are slightly out of focus. The mirror behind them was a bit of a challenge, so I got low and close to the raclette grill and photographed as they talked, ate, and cooked their food. My photo tip: Don’t be afraid to try traditional food. It’s almost always the best way to experience a culture through your lens and also your mouth.